Retrieving lost parts of myself and keeping them
18 March 2009
This happens to me from time to time. I think I’m whole. I share what I think is my whole self. It gets accepted for a time, then rejected in stages, and then (what feels like) it gets thrown back at me broken fragment after broken fragment, from which I have to find and fit the pieces back again, hoping I get the combination right the next time.
Today, after some help, I see I’ve got the metaphor wrong. The mosaic is what it is — a whole made up of fragments. What I can share are the different shapes and textures, the colours and the combinations, but the whole of fragments is mine and mine alone.
When I enter relationships, part of me dissolves, but I don’t notice it dissolving at first. (In fact, it is good to know that I’m not alone in this respect, but it is the form it takes in me that I want to explore.) I feel it a strengthening, like growing a new limb. What I don’t realise is actually part of my boundary collapses, like a broken levee, whether to let more of the other in, or more of me out, I don’t know. What I do know is the other spots the crack like a beacon, and then I’m chucked, for having lost the integrity of the shape they were originally drawn to.
As Venus continues her retrograde through Aries, highlighting the need to have healthier relationships with ourselves, I’m writing this just to bring it to my consciousness, to retrieve and keep parts of myself that I’ve lost, and to say thank you to the experience, and the people involved therewith, for the lesson I hope never to forget thereafter.
It is very hard to describe what dissolves for me when I become close to another person — it is a dissolving of boundaries, but also perspective. Like I forget that just because I’ve let down my defenses, it doesn’t mean the other has followed suit. At the same time, I forget that by exposing myself to an other in all my raw vulnerability, it doesn’t mean my nakedness is necessarily treated with respect. But I also forget that respect cannot be demanded, only earned. So I’m not laying blame on anyone’s door for my own lack of judgement and insight, but am attempting to make sense of what I missed to foster a more productive way for the future.
Or as someone put it to me more bluntly: ‘You offered the deal. They took it. Then you get mad.’ Okay, so as of now, I’m re-investigating the deal and my public relations strategy!
The deal I offered was a commitment with openness, i.e. ‘things are good, let’s nourish it and see what happens, and if things change, let’s re-evaluate’. Not so difficult? Not so bad a deal? Well, I’m learning it depends on whether one is willing to risk a certain fuzziness around the edges that society insists we must keep clean.
I re-discovered recently an article Eric Francis once wrote on Eris, appropriately called, ‘Sun conjunct Eris: Calling Home the Castaway Woman’, and how society has for so long tried to contain the power of Eris through suppression, denial, persecution and ignorance:
Psychologically, Eris becomes the one who does not (for whatever reason, probably conditioning) accept herself, and projects that lack of acceptance onto the world; she casts herself off and lives in a state of panic, fear, suppression, ignorance and/or pain. Or she is actually different, openly sexual, authentic, or revealing of her inner emotions, and this can breed resentment and exclusion. Openly sexual women are considered a threat because “someone else’s man” may respond to their vitality, so sexually open women tend to be smashed by less open women.
Equally, openly sexual women are threatening to openly (or covertly) sexual men simply because no one has taught them how else women can be, and by extension, how else they can be as men. A lack of positive models in both instances leaves those of us trying to forge our own path either tripping up, getting our feet stuck in the mud or scratched by bramble.
Is it possible to be open and committed at the same time? Perfectly. It depends on what one is open to, and what one is committed to, and the two don’t have to be the same thing, nor be as trite as something called ‘marriage’. It is perfectly possible, in my mind, to be committed to the humanity, and the love, and the respect, of the other as one is given all those things, without subjecting the receipt of those gifts to worn-out templates and crumbling scaffoldings of what being ‘a couple’ might mean. Anyone going into a relationship with a pre-conceived idea of how he should be, how his partner should be, and how the relationship should be, in order to be justifably considered a ‘couply’ relationship, runs the risk not just of never finding the right jelly for the right mould, but of closing off oneself to every possibility in between. The jelly of the subjective self always spills out of the mould. And the more one applies the mould to the self, the more one gets upset at the mess that ensues. I eschew moulds. But what I do is try to clean up the other’s mess, which inevitably gets meshed with my own.
I don’t think there can be a modern subject with no mess. But what can mitigate the distress over the mess, I think, is some measure of honesty, not just to the other, but most of all, honesty to oneself. But, I am aware, that one can only be honest with oneself if one is willing to look for the parts that are lost, to find that they may have never been lost all.
Image: Mosaic. Source: stock.xchng